Help In Making Tough Medical Decisions

An Easier Way to Make Complex Health Decisions


Thanks to a newly developed program, patients and family can now be guided through the process of making complicated medical decisions.

The PREPARE method was developed by researchers from the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC), the University of California,  San Francisco, and the Veterans Health Research Institute. It’s based on their studies examining what kind of help patients and caregivers want.

Lead study author Rebecca Sudore, MD, an associate professor of medicine at UCSF, said in a statement that the PREPARE program fills unmet needs. “There are few resources which can adequately prepare patients and their families to face serious illness or a medical crisis – situations which often involve complex decisions over time.”

The program covers advance directives, but Sudore said that was “just one piece of the puzzle.” Other elements, she said, include choosing the right surrogate and talking about that choice with family members and doctors.

The site is designed to be as easy as possible for patients to follow. Text is in large type and is accompanied by voiceovers. To see the program, visit the website at

The findings were published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.



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